This project is a fictional narrative loosely based on the 1962 film, "La Jetée" by Chris Marker. We can view it as some "stills" from a film that is "missing." The original elliptical form has been retained so the 'hero' sees his own death in the 'beginning' and we return to that scene as reality in the 'end.'
The nuclear apocalypse of the original has been replaced with the ongoing holocaust of HIV/AIDS. The heterosexual possibility of romantic love which drives the original character has been replaced with an immigrant, homosexual one.
Our 'hero' arrives in Paris, Orly (from India) to be greeted by his French lover, a scene witnessed by the only woman in the pictures. She has an approving smile. She could be simply passing by, or possibly standing in for his mother or a guardian angel.
In the remaining pictures he alternates between living out a romantic relationship above ground or in the open, and another life where he discovers the gay bath house and slowly progresses towards increasing degrees of intimacy with a series of anonymous partners. Whether his death is actually related to this experimentation, we cannot know for certain.
Our hero is always highlighted with a yellow light. He is both sacred and innocent.
The actors in the bath house scenes are arranged in postures borrowed from the history of photography - mainly Baron von Gloeden (Germany late 19th C), George Platt Lynes (New York 1930s-40s). The romantic scenes are a reference to the original movie - the park, the department store, the museum, and the apartment.
In his romantic world, he is reading Victor Hugo, trying to overcome his linguistic and cultural barriers. However, in the bath house he finds a kind of democracy as communication does not involve speech and everyone wears the same blue towel.
In both worlds he is new, and uncertain. In India, where he came from, neither situation is possible, so both are new to him - there are no safe spaces for casual sex and no possibility of an overground and 'out' romantic lifestyle with a same-sex partner.
However, underlying all this, both in France and in India (and elsewhere in the world) gay men are trying to come to terms with the opposite political choices of promiscuity and the institution of marriage.
(As the storyline is circular, the end picture has to be placed near the beginning picture.)
Assisted by Saadiya Kochar, Delhi Produced by Eva Albarran, Paris Still from "La Jetée" courtesy of Argos Films, Paris Supported by: Vadehra Art Gallery, (Delhi) and Sepia Eye (New York), Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto) and Rudi Leuthold (London)
Commissioned by the Centre Pompidou, Paris and first shown there in the exhibition, "Paris, Delhi, Bombay..." in 2011.